- Twelfth Air Force
Infobox Military Unit
unit_name= Twelfth Air Force
United States Southern Command Air Forces
caption= United States Southern Command Air Forces emblem
United States of America
United States Air Force
(1942 - Present)
Davis-Monthan Air Force Base
Twelfth Air Force (12 AF) is one of four
Numbered Air Forces assigned to the United States Air Force Air Combat Command(ACC). It is Headquartered at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona.
Headquarters Twelfth Air Force is dual hated as the air and space component to
United States Southern Command(USSOUTHCOM). In this capacity, Twelfth Air Force is referred to as United States Southern Command Air Forces (AFSOUTH)
The commander of Twelfth Air Force/AFSOUTH is [http://www.af.mil/bios/bio.asp?bioID=7104 Lt Gen Norman Seip] . [ [http://www.af.mil/bios/bio.asp?bioID=7104 Norman Seip] ]
Twelfth Air Force
The mission of Twelfth Air Force is to provide combat ready forces to ACC Additionally, Twelfth Air Force is responsible for the operational readiness of Twelfth Air Force-gained units of the
Air Force Reserveand Air National Guardin the western and midwestern United States.
Twelfth Air Force is also leading the way in bringing the Chief of Staff of the Air Force's Warfighting Headquarters (WFHQ) concept to life. The WFHQ is composed of a command and control element, an Air Force forces staff and an Air Operations Center. Operating as a WFHQ since June 2004, Twelfth Air Force has served as the Air Force model for the future of Combined Air and Space Operations Centers and WFHQ Air Force forces.
United States Southern Command Air Forces
The mission of AFSOUTH is to conduct Air Force, joint and combined air and space operations in addition to information operations in the USSOUTHCOM Area of Responsibility (AOR). To fulfill these responsibilities AFSOUTH employs a full spectrum of Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR), intra-theatre airlift and information assets. In addition the CAOC staff is responsible for developing strategy and plans to execute air and space operations in support of USSOUTHCOM objectives. The CAOC also provides command and control of all air and space assets in the AOR.
AFSOUTH oversees Air Force assets, five forward operating locations, and civil and military engagements in the USSOUTHCOM area of responsibility - Central and
South America, and the Caribbean. AFSOUTH is also responsible for the combat readiness of one of five Falconer CAOC weapons systems in the Air Force.
Twelfth Air Force serves as a primary conventional fighter and bomber WFHQ trained and ready for worldwide employment of airpower. It is responsible for the combat readiness of seven active-duty wings, which comprise more than 33,000 personnel and 400 aircraft. Twelfth Air Force is also responsible for three active-duty direct reporting units, which comprise more than 1,200 personnel; and 14 gained units of the AFR and ANG, featuring an additional 18,800 personnel and more than 200 aircraft.
As a result of the
Global War on Terrorism, most 12 AF units have operated in the United States Central CommandAOR.
Typically, the 12 AF/CC and his command and control staff form the core of the AFSOUTH command section. Unlike the 12 AF/CC, who reports to COMACC and has only a training mission, the commander of AFSOUTH (COMAFSOUTH) reports to the commander of US Southern Command (CDRUSSOUTHCOM) and has a warfighting responsibility. AFSOUTH has no organic assets, but draws on forces provided to it by CDRUSSOUTHCOM. Currently, AFSOUTH manages four rotational
Air Force Reserve Commandand Air National GuardC-130s based out of Muniz Air National Guard Base, Puerto Rico.
The SOUTHCOM JFACC is a warfighting commander who reports to CDRUSSOUTHCOM and directs air and air defence forces provided to him for tasking by CDRUSSOUTHCOM. This typically only takes place during crisis situations in the SOUTHCOM Area of Responsibility. However, the JFACC has a significant command and control capability which is used to manage some air operations, along with the
Joint Interagency Task Force South, battling illegal narcotics trafficking from several forward operating locations. Similarly to AFSOUTH, the SOUTHCOM JFACC usually draws its staff, including the commander, from the 12 AF/CC staff.
In 1963, Congress established US Southern Command and its service components, including what was know at the time as Southern Air Force (SOUTHAF). In 2007, SOUTHAF was formally redesignated AFSOUTH. The Commander of AFSOUTH is part of an operation chain of command from the President through the Secretary of Defense to the CDRUSSOUTHCOM, to the AFSOUTH commander.
7th Bomb Wing, Dyess Air Force Base, Texas (B-1B)
28th Bomb Wing, Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota (B-1B)
49th Fighter Wing, Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico (F-22)
355th Fighter Wing, Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona (A-10A/C)
366th Fighter Wing, Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho (F-15C, F-15E)
388th Fighter Wing, Hill Air Force Base, Utah (F-16C)
432d Wing, Creech Air Force Base, Nevada(RQ-1, MQ-9)
Direct Reporting Units
* 820th RED HORSE Squadron,
Nellis AFB, Nevada
* 726th Air Control Squadron,
Mountain Home AFB, Idaho
* 729th Air Control Squadron,
Hill AFB, Utah
612th Air and Space Operations Center, Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona
* 612th Theater Operation Group, Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona
** 612th Air Communications Squadron, Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona
** 612th Air Base Squadron, Soto Cano AB,
Air Force Reserve
301st Fighter Wing, Naval Air Station, Joint Reserve Base, Fort Worth, Texas(F-16)
419th Fighter Wing, Hill AFB, Utah(F-16)
Established in the United States during
World War IIto be the Army Air Forces air component of Operation Torchin 1942, Twelfth Air Force initailly moved to England for training, then participated in the invasion of North Africa. It engaged in tactical operations for the remainder of the war in the Mediterranean.
Since World War II, Twelfth Air Force has subsequently served both in Europe and later the United States. The Twelfth Air Force serves as the Air Force component to the United States Southern Command.
* Established as Twelfth Air Force, and activated, on 20 Aug 1942: Inactivated on 31 Aug 1945
* Activated on 17 May 1946: Discontinued on 1 Jul 1950
* Organized and Activated on 21 Jan 1951
Army Air Forces, 20 Aug 1942 - 31 Aug 1945
Tactical Air Command, 17 May 1946 - 1 Dec 1948
Continental Air Command, 1 Dec 1948 - 1 Jul 1950
United States Air Forces in Europe, 21 Jan 1951 - 1 Jan 1958
Tactical Air Command, 1 Jan 1958 - 1 Jun 1992
Air Combat Command, 1 Jun 1992 - Present
42d Air Division, 1-8 Jan 1958
44th Air Division, 12 Jan-27 Jun 1949
307th Air Division, 12 Jan-27 Jun 1949
309th Air Division, 12 Jan-27 Jun 1949
310th Air Division, 12 Jan-27 Jun 1949
* USAF Southern Air Division, 1 Jan 1976 - 1 Jan 1989: Redesignated: 830th Air Division, 1 Jan 1989 - 15 Feb 1991: Redesignated:
Air Forces Panama, 15 Feb 1991 - 11 Feb 1992
831st Air Division, 1 Jan 1958-20 Apr 1971; 1 Dec 1980-31 Mar 1991
832d Air Division, 1 Jan 1958-20 Apr 1971; 1 Dec 1980-31 Mar 1991
833d Air Division, 1 Dec 1980-15 Nov 1991
834th Air Division, 1 Jan 1958-1 Apr 1959; 31 Jan 1972 - 1 Dec 1974
835th Air Division, 23 Jul 1964-30 Jun 1971
836th Air Division, 1 Jan 1981-1 May 1992
838th Air Division, 1 Jul 1963-24 Dec 1969
839th Air Division, 1 Jul 1963 - 9 Nov 1964
* Bolling Field,
Washington, D.C., 20-28 Aug 1942
England, 12 Sep-22 Oct 1942
Algeria, 9 Nov 1942
Tunisia, 10 Aug 1943
Italy, 5 Dec 1943-31 Aug 1945
* March Field,
California, 17 May 1946
Brooks AFB, Texas, 1 Jan 1949-1 Jul 1950
Wiesbaden AB, West Germany, 21 Jan 1951
Ramstein AB, West Germany, 27 Apr 1953
Connally AFB, Texas, 1 Jan 1958
Bergstrom AFB, TexasAug 1968
Davis-Monthan AFB, Texas, 1 Oct 1992-Present
World War II
AFSOUTH (Twelfth Air Force) origins are traced back to a series of mid-1942 Allied planners' meetings to develop a strategy for the North African invasion or "
Operation TORCH". Because this extensive operation required a new organization to provide enough manpower and equipment, activation plans were prepared simultaneously with the invasion strategy.
20 August 1942, Twelfth Air Force was activated at Bolling AAF, Maryland. On 23 September 1942. Brigadier General Jimmy Doolittle formally assumed 12 AF command with Colonel Hoyt S. Vandenberg as chief of staff. Barely four months after it was conceived, 12 AF made its first contributions to World War II. When the North Africa invasion D-Day arrived on 8 November 1942, 12th AF was ready to meet its assigned missions.
Initially Twelfth Air Force was a composite air force, containing both strategic heavy bombing, as well as tactical bombing and fighter elements, operating initially from French Morocco and Algeria after the Operation TORCH landings in November 1942. Operational elements came from the United States, as well as units transferred from
Eighth Air Forcein Englandand Ninth Air Forceupon Ninth's deactivation in Libyain late 1943 prior to its transfer to England.
With the activation of
Fifteenth Air Forcein October 1943, the heavy bomber groups (B-17, B-24) were transferred and Twelfth became a tactical air force, operating in the Mediterranean, Sicily, Italy, and Southern France. By V-E Day, 12th AF had flown 430,681 sorties, dropped 217,156 tons of bombs, claimed destruction of 2,857 enemy aircraft, and lost 2,667 of its own aircraft.
When hostilities ended, Twelfth Air Force was inactivated at
Florence, Italy, on 31 August 1945.
XII Tactical Air Command
XII Tactical Air Command was constituted as XII Ground Air Support Command on
10 September 1942and activated on 17 September. It was assigned to 12th Air Force and redesignated as XII Air Support Command, and later redesignated as XII Tactical Air Command in April 1944. The command was moved to French Moroccoon 9 November 1942as part of the Operation Torchlandings in North Africa.
XII Tactical Air Command served in combat in the
Mediterraneanand European theaters until May 1945. Known units were:
* 5th Bombardment Wing (1942): (Groups transferred to XII Bomber Command)
* 64th Fighter Wing (1943 - 1945)
Algeria, Tunisia, Sicily, Italy: 27th Fighter Group (Jun 1943 - May 1945) (A-36): 31st Fighter Group (Nov 1942 - Apr 1944) (Spitfire): 33d Fighter Group (Nov 1942 - Feb 1944) (P-39): 86th Fighter Group (Jul 1943 - Apr 1945) (A-36, P-40, P-47):
324th Fighter Group(Oct 1943 - May 1945) (P-47)
* 57th Bombardment Wing (1943): Transferred from
9th Air Force:: (Groups transferred to XII Bomber Command)
* 87th Fighter Wing (Apr - Sep 1944)
Algeria, Italy, Corsica: 57th Fighter Group (1944) (P-47): 86th Fighter Group (1944) (P-47)
Colonel Demas T. Crawwas awarded the Medal of Honorfor action during the invasion of Algeria-French Morocco. When the Allies landed on 8 November 1942, On that day he volunteered to go behind enemy lines and meet with the French commander near Port Lyautey, French Morocco, to broker a cease fire.
After landing on the beach under hostile fire, Craw, his interpreter Major
Pierpont M. Hamilton, and a driver approached the French headquarters in a light truck. They came under machine gunfire, leaving Craw dead and Hamilton captured.
Craw was awarded the Medal of Honor four months later, on March 4, 1943, for his part in the mission. Although imprisoned, Hamilton succeeded in persuading the French to surrender; he was also awarded the Medal of Honor in 1943.
XII Bomber Command
XII Bomber Command was constituted on
26 February 1942and activated on 13 Marchat MacDill AAF Florida. It was assigned to 12th Air Force in August and transferred, without personnel and equipment, to High Wycombe Englandwhere the command was re-formed. XII Bomber Command was moved to Tafaraoui, Algeriaon 22 November 1942as part of the Operation Torchlandings in North Africa.
XII Bomber Command served in combat in the Mediterranean theater until
1 November 1943when most of the personnel were withdrawn. The command was restaffed in January 1944 and served in combat until 1 March. It was disbanded in Corsicaon 10 June 1944.
Known XII Bomber Command units were:
* 5th Bombardment Wing (Nov 1942 - Nov 1943): Units transferred from XII Tactical Air Command: Reassigned to
Fifteenth Air Force, November 1943: Located in: French Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Italy
: 2d Bombardment Group (Mar - Nov 1943) (B-17): 47th Bombardment Group (Nov 1942 - Nov 1943) (A-20,A-26):: 15th Bombardment Squadron (Light) (Nov 1942) (RAF Douglas A-20C Havoc Boston III)**: 97th Bombardment Group (Nov 1942 - Nov 1943) (B-17):: Transferred from
Eighth Air Force: 98th Bombardment Group (Sep - Nov 1943) (B-24):: Transferred from Ninth Air Force: 99th Bombardment Group (Feb - Nov 1943) (B-17): 301st Bombardment Group(Dec 1942 - Nov 1943) (B-17):: Transferred from Eighth Air Force: 376th Bombardment Group (Sep - Nov 1943) (B-24):: Transferred from Ninth Air Force: 1st Fighter Group (Nov 1942 - Nov 1943) (P-38): 14th Fighter Group (Nov 1942 - Nov 1943) (P-38):: Transferred from Eighth Air Force: 325th Fighter Group (Feb - Nov 1943) (P-40): 68th Reconnaissance Group (Nov 1942 -Nov 1943):: (P-38, P-39, P-40, P-51, A-20, A-36, B-17, B-24)
.** Survivors of Australian-based 27th Bomb Group transferred to 12th AF.
Absorbed into 47th BG
* 42d Bombardment Wing (Jul 1943 - Oct 1945): Reassigned to XII Tactical Air Command May 1945: Located in:
Tunisia, Sardinia, Corsica, France
: 17th Bombardment Group (Jan 1944 - Oct 1945) (B-26): 319th Bombardment Group (Jul 1943 - Jan 1945) (B-25, B-26): 320th Bombardment Group (Jul 1943 - Jul 1945) (B-26): 1st Fighter Group (Jul - Nov 1943) (P-38): 325th Fighter Group (Jul - Dec 1943) (P-40)
* 47th Bombardment Wing (Nov 1942 - Nov 1943): Reassigned to
15th Air ForceNovember 1943: Located in: French Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia
: 17th Bombardment Group (Dec 1942 - Nov 1943) (B-26): 98th Bombardment Group (Sep - Nov 1943) (B-24):: Transferred from
Ninth Air Force: 310th Bombardment Group (Dec 1942 - Nov 1943) (B-25): 319th Bombardment Group (Dec 1942 - Nov 1943) (B-26): 320th Bombardment Group (Dec 1942 - Nov 1943) (B-26): 321st Bombardment Group (Dec 1942 - Nov 1943) (B-25): 376th Bombardment Group (Sep - Nov 1943) (B-24):: Transferred from Ninth Air Force: 33d Fighter Group (Nov 1942 - Nov 1943) (P-40): 81st Fighter Group (Jan - Nov 1943) (P-40): 82d Fighter Group (Nov 1942 - Nov 1943) (P-38): 325th Fighter Group (Jan - Nov 1943) (P-40)
* 57th Bombardment Wing (Aug 1943 - Sep 1945): Units transferred from XII Tactical Air Command: Inactivated in Italy September 1945: Located in:
Tunisia, Sicily, Italy, Corsica
: 12th Bombardment Group (Aug 1943 - Feb 1944) (B-25):: Transferred to
Tenth Air Force: 47th Bombardment Group (1943-1944) (A-20,A-26): 310th Bombardment Group (1944) (B-25): 319th Bombardment Group (1944) (B-25): 321st Bombardment Group (1943-1944) (B-25): 340th Bombardment Group(1943-1944) (B-25): 57th Fighter Group (Aug 1943 - Sep 1945) (P-40, P-47) : 79th Fighter Group(Aug 1943 - Sep 1945) (P-40, P-47)
XXII Tactical Air Command
XXII Tactical Air Command was constituted on
26 February 1942and activated on 5 March. It was redesignated as XII Fighter Command in May 1942, and XXII Tactical Air Command in November 1944.
The command was assigned to 12th Air Force in August 1942 and was moved to
RAF Wattisham Englandin September, then on to Tafaraoui, Algeriaon 8 November 1942as part of the Operation Torchlandings in North Africa.
XXII Tactical Air Command served in combat in the Mediterranean theater until the end of the war. It was inactivated at Pomigliano
Italyon 4 October 1945.
Known XXII Tactical Air Command units were:
* 63d Fighter Wing (Jul 1943 - Nov 1944): Located in:
Algeria, Corsica, Italy, France
* 87th Fighter Wing (Apr - Sep 1944): Located in:
Algeria, Italy, Corsica
* 64th Fighter Wing (Jul 1943 - Nov 1944): Located in:
Algeria, Tunisia, Sicily, Italy, France
: 27th Fighter Group (A-36) (1943): 31st Fighter Group (P-51, Spitfire) (1943): 33d Fighter Group (P-38) (1943) : 86th Fighter Group (P-47, A-36) (1943) :
324th Fighter Group(P-40) (1943) : 415th Night Fighter Squadron(Feb 1943 - Oct 1945) (P-61)
XII Troop Carrier Command
* 51st Troop Carrier Wing (C-47) (Nov 1942 - May 1945)
Algeria, Tunisia, Sicily, Italy
** 60th Troop Carrier Group
** 62d Troop Carrier Group
** 64th Troop Carrier Group
* 52d Troop Carrier Wing (C-47) (Apr 1943 - Feb 1944)
French Morocco, Tunisia, Sicily
313th Troop Carrier Group
** 314th Troop Carrier Group
** 316th Troop Carrier Group
With the end of combat in the Mediterranean and European theaters in 1945, Twelfth Air Force was inactivated. However XII Tactical Air Command was reassigned as part of the occupation force in Germany of the
United States Air Forces in Europe. The groups operated P-47 or P-51 aircraft. Units assigned for occupation duty were:
* 27th Fighter Group (1945)
Inactivated on 7 Nov 1945.
* 36th Fighter Group (1945 - 1946)
Transferred to the US in Feb 1946.
* 86th Fighter Group (1945-1946)
Transferred to the US in Feb 1946.
324th Fighter Group(1945)
Inactivated Oct 1945.
* 406th Fighter-Bomber Group (1945 - 1946)
Inactivated 20 Aug 1946.
* 52d Fighter Group (1945)
Inactivated 7 Nov 1945.
* 354th Fighter Group (1945-1946)
Inactivated 31 Mar 1946.
* 355th Fighter Group (1945 - 1946)
Transferred to the US on 1 Aug 1946. XII Tactical Air Command was inactivated at
Bad Kissingen Germanyon 10 November 1947.
Twelfth Air Force was reactivated at March Field,
California, on 17 May 1946, and assigned to Tactical Air Commandwith training responsibilities.
In the late 1940s, following several assignments and inactivations, 12 AF reactivated on 21 January 1951 at
Wiesbaden AB, West Germany, assigned to United States Air Forces in Europe. Twelfth Air Force became the first USAFE unit to be committed to NATO. Along with French and Canadianair units, 12 AF was part of the 4th Allied Tactical Air Forces (4 ATAF) charged with conducting NATO's Allied Air Forces Central Europe(AFCENT) aerial mission.
On 1 January 1958, Twelfth Air Force relocated to
Connally AFB, Texas, and was assigned to Tactical Air Command. During 10 years at Connally its mission began to focus on training tactical air crews to a state of combat readiness capable of conducting joint air operations.
In September 1968, Twelfth Air Force moved to
Bergstrom AFB, Texas. During the Vietnam War, the Twelfth was a primary source for tactical fighter, reconnaissance, and airlift forces deployed to the war zone in Southeast Asia.
In 1987, the Twelfth Air Force commander took on the United States Air Force Southern Command responsibility. As such, 12 AF manages all Air Force personnel and assets in the United States Southern Command area of responsibility--Central and
South America. During the 1989 Operation JUST CAUSE, for example, 12 AF and other Air Force units deployed in support of U.S. forces, returning democracy to Panama. In 1994, 12 AF managed and orchestrated Operation UPHOLD DEMOCRACY's air operations, the mission to restore Haitian democracy while at the same time supporting US Southern Command's Operation SAFE HAVEN for Cuban refugees.
Post Cold War
On 13 July 1993, Headquarters Twelfth Air Force officially moved from Bergstrom AFB to
Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona. Since then, 12 AF personnel and units have participated in operations in many other parts of the world: SOUTHERN WATCH, PROVIDE COMFORT, DENY FLIGHT, PROVIDE PROMISE, RESTORE HOPE, and JOINT ENDEAVOR. During Operations DESERT SHIELD and DESERT STORM 12 AF provided fighter and reconnaissance aircraft to support U.S. Central Command Air Forces.
11 September 2001terrorist attacks, AFSOUTH (Twelfth Air Force) has worked closely with Caribbean, Central, and South American countries in the Global War on Terrorism. The command has supported efforts to stem the flow of illegal drugs into the U.S. and neighboring counties. 12 AF has also provided forces to Operations ENDURING FREEDOM in Afghanistan, IRAQI FREEDOM, and NOBLE GUARDIAN in the U.S. Today 12 AF directs six combat wings, five Direct Reporting Units, as well as 12 AF gained Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard units.
* This article includes content from [http://www.12af.acc.af.mil United States Air Forces Southern website] , which as a work of the U.S. Government is presumed to be a public domain resource. That information was supplemented by:
* Maurer, Maurer (1983). Air Force Combat Units Of World War II. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0892010924.
* Ravenstein, Charles A. (1984). Air Force Combat Wings Lineage and Honors Histories 1947-1977. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0912799129.
* [http://www.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123016333 Twelfth Air Force becomes Air Forces Southern]
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